Studies addressing the predicted effects of pesticides in combination with abiotic and biotic factors on aquatic biota in ditches associated with typical Mediterranean agroecosystems are scarce. The current study aimed to evaluate the predicted effects of pesticides along with environmental factors and biota interactions on macroinvertebrate, zooplankton and phytoplankton community compositions in ditches adjacent to Portuguese maize and tomato crop areas. Data was analysed with the variance partitioning procedure based on redundancy analysis (RDA). The total variance in biological community composition was divided into the variance explained by the multi-substance potentially affected fraction [(msPAF) arthropods and primary producers], environmental factors (water chemistry parameters), biotic interactions, shared variance, and unexplained variance. The total explained variance reached 39.4% and the largest proportion of this explained variance was attributed to msPAF (23.7%). When each group (phytoplankton, zooplankton and macroinvertebrates) was analysed separately, biota interactions and environmental factors explained the largest proportion of variance. Results of this study indicate that besides the presence of pesticide mixtures, environmental factors and biotic interactions also considerably influence field freshwater communities. Subsequently, to increase our understanding of the risk of pesticide mixtures on ecosystem communities in edge-of-field water bodies, variations in environmental and biological factors should also be considered.
- Freshwater community
- Multi-substance potentially affected fraction
- Pesticide mixtures
- Redundancy analysis